Nigeria’s Vice-President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, has expressed Nigeria’s readiness and commitment to tow the path of partnership with member-states of the G-77+China towards addressing global challenges.
Shettima disclosed this in his address to world leaders at the ongoing G77+China leaders’ summit at the Palace Convention in Havana, Cuba.
Speaking on the theme, “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation”, the Vice-President underscored the prominent role that science, technology, and innovation have always played in resolving challenges from the past to the present.
“We shall champion initiatives that harness the potential of science, technology, and innovation to confront economic challenges, particularly within the global south,” he pledged.
Delivering his speech titled, “From Pandemic to Paradigm Shift: Nigeria’s Road to Reinvention”, Shettima said throughout history, science and technology have shaped the course of nations.
“The phases of the Industrial Revolution, from the first to the fourth, and from mechanization to automation, have determined the prosperity of those nations.
“it is crucial to acknowledge that the developing world found itself at a disadvantage in the earliest phases of these transformations, struggling to compete fairly as these revolutions swept across the globe.”
The Vice President told his audience that Nigeria is contributing its own share in leveraging science, technology, and innovation to resolving challenges such as Covid-19 and the climate crisis.
“Nigeria understands that the key to advancing innovation in science and technology lies in fostering a vibrant knowledge economy and facilitating the unrestricted exchange of ideas.
“Is the reason across the globe, one would be hard-pressed to identify a premier institution, even within the most developed nations, where a Nigerian, trained at home, is not contributing significantly, whether as a tech innovator or a medical specialist, in the noble pursuit of improving the human condition,” Shettima added.
On the efforts of the Nigerian Government to combat Covid-19 using science and technology, Shettima said the Covid-19 pandemic, while it was a tragic chapter, served as a catalyst for our brilliant minds in Nigeria to rejuvenate their pursuits in the fields of science and technology.
“Our scientists have successfully positioned our nation as a prominent global hub for mRNA vaccine production, a milestone currently in progress.”
Shettima, who lauded the contributions of the youth in the nation’s quest for science, tech, and innovation advancement, emphasized: “Nigeria’s demographic advantage is not limited to the absence of an aging population. Nigeria stands as a beacon of youthful talent and innovation.”
On Climate crisis, Shettima noted that climate crisis around the globe too has dominated our agenda, prompting our youthful innovators to engage in crafting solutions.
“This fervent commitment has resulted in the establishment of start-ups like the Climate Action Africa (CMA) Labs, a hub dedicated to addressing diverse challenges posed by climate change, including severe droughts, flooding, and the escalating agricultural complexities,” he explained.
The Vice President while stressing the imperative of global partnership, warned that the stakes are high, adding “if we fail to act now, the prevailing trend could imperil our attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Earlier In his welcome speech at the opening ceremony, the President of Cuba and Chair of G77+China, Miguel Diaz-Canel, lamented the precarious situations faced by developing countries that are member-states.
He noted that science, technology, and innovation have only benefitted developed countries while the global South is largely still facing very serious development challenges and therefore, called for collective wisdom to address the challenges.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres, in his brief remarks, also noted the development problems confronting developing countries.
He promised the UN system would continue to work with the G77 and China to proffer solutions to the challenges.